ANTHONY WESTBURY PHOTOS
Crabby’s Dockside restaurant opened at the height of the pandemic in July 2020. The casual restaurant, which features indoor and outdoor seating, overlooks
the Fort Pierce City Marina in the same location as the Original Tiki Bar.
“It’s been a tough year for small businesses in general,”
she admitted, “but things have picked up dramatically since
November and I’m hoping that continues.”
Demanuel and Tillman are particularly looking forward to
the start of construction of the $150 million mixed-use King’s
Landing project, on the site of the former city power plant at
the north side of downtown.
The project received unanimous approval at its first reading
before the city commission on Jan. 18. Final approval will
be decided at a Monday, Feb. 7, Fort Pierce City Commission
meeting, which is open to the public.
Demanuel believes most downtown merchants are encouraged
by the prospect of more commercial and retail activity at
King’s Landing, rather than being scared of the competition.
The new development will encompass thousands of square
feet of restaurant and retail space and will include a 140-room
upscale boutique hotel as its centerpiece. The development
will also bring more than 100 new permanent residents to
downtown, something city planners have long insisted is
vital to the area’s economic and social vitality.
“King’s Landing will bring a lot of new people to the city,”
Demanuel said. “This is the best plan we’ve seen on that site
in a decade. I believe the developer Dale Matteson of Audubon
Development will do his best for Fort Pierce. He’s spent
a lot of money giving the city what it originally asked for.
And the hotel — a top-notch one — won’t come if the number
of rooms has to be reduced because of recent resident
concerns about the overall height of some of the buildings. >>
Becky Demanuel, owner of Chic & Shore Things, says her fellow downtown
merchants are weathering the economic storm well.